Padres' young outfield answering challenges

Margot, Jankowski, Renfroe average 24 years old

Padres' young outfield answering challenges

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Padres manager Andy Green is bullish on his young outfield.

And we mean young. Rookie center fielder Manuel Margot is 22. Left fielder Travis Jankowski is 25. And rookie right fielder Hunter Renfroe is 25.

All three have played center field in the past. Margot and Jankowski are speedsters. Renfroe has above-average speed. And Margot and Renfroe have guns for arms.

Green sees them developing into one of the game's top defensive outfields. And the trio's ceiling on offense is also very high.

"I want to challenge them," Green said recently of his outfielders.

Which is what Green did before the Padres' first game in Colorado on Monday.

"In our advance meeting, I told them to look at the outfield as an opportunity to change the game, change the score in the field," Green said.

"Coors Field is as big as any outfield in baseball. I remember the first time I went out in left field here. I looked over to center and thought "I'm on an island here by myself.' It is huge when you are out there for the first time. But all three of our young outfielders have speed and have the ability to be plus outfielders."

Green said "the sky is the limit" for his young outfielders.

"There's not a lot of at-bats under their belts, collectively less than 400. But when you look at our outfield, they should be able to defend the field as well if not better than anyone in the game of baseball."

"That doesn't mean they won't make mistakes. What it means is they all have the talent to do some special things out there. They're young. There's going to be some mistakes. There's also going to be exciting moments."

Margot is off to a fast start.

He opened Tuesday's game in Colorado with a home run, marking the second time this season he has opened a game with a homer. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he's the first Padres player ever to do that twice in the season's first nine games.

Margot is off to a .343 start (12-for-35) with three doubles, three homers and a stolen base. He has scored seven runs with five RBIs.

Margot is riding an active five-game hitting streak (11-for-20) with two doubles and three homers.

After nine games, Margot has a .686 on-base percentage and a 1.080 OPS.

"Margot is just going to play baseball," said Green. "He's not going to scare off. He's not going to shy away. He's going to defend the field. He's a guy I don't worry about."

Renfroe, who was the Most Valuable Player of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League last season, has two homers while hitting .250. As an indicator of his raw power, Renfroe last September was the first player to hit a homer atop the Western Metal Supply Co. building at Petco Park.

Jankowski is off to a .148 start. But he has drawn five walks for a .283 on-base percentage with six runs scored. He hit .245 last year with a .332 on-base percentage and 30 steals.

GAME NOTES

• 1B Wil Myers followed Monday's cycle with a triple Tuesday, marking the first time in his Major League career that Myers had tripled in back-to-back games. Myers is 7-for-12 in his last three games and is off to a .378 start (14-for-37) with three doubles, two triples and three homers for a .811 slugging percentage.

• RHP Luis Perdomo will go on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday with posterior shoulder irritation, meaning the Padres have lost two-fifths of their Opening Day rotation to the disabled list after nine games. RHP Trevor Cahill went on the disabled list Sunday with a lower back strain. RHP Zach Lee will make his second Major League start Wednesday afternoon in Colorado.

•RHP Jered Weaver allowed only three hits over six innings Tuesday night in his first start at Coors Field. Two of those hits were solo homers, accounting for both runs he gave up to the Rockies. Weaver has allowed four homers over 11 innings in his first two starts for the Padres.